Deteriorating Humanitarian Situation Engulfs Syria


With growing influx of civilians fleeing from conflict, humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate.

Reports say up to 1.5 million Syrians are in need of assistance.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that civilians attempting to flee from fighting need urgent assistance and protection.

“Local resources are stretched and there is restricted access to basic services in areas affected by fighting.” -OCHA

OCHA reports that aid agencies continue to face significant access constraints to reaching people in need.

Major General Robert Mood, Head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), speaks at a joint press conference with Kofi Annan, the joint UNArab League special envoy for the country, in Geneva, Switzerland.UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre

OCHA says visits by UN relief agencies to Homs and Idlib over the past two weeks have found that increasing numbers of people are leaving their homes and communities’ vulnerability is growing.

In the Idlib Governorate where fighting continues, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) reports that 350,000 people now need assistance.

OCHA states there is increase of 150,000 people since the Government-led assessment of the humanitarian situation at the end of March.

Communities in the city of Homs have suffered increased violence in the past two weeks, OCHA noted.

In addition, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that it needs additional funds of around $14 million for its response to the crisis in Syria. Along with its partners, UNICEF is providing assistance to Syrian children in need in areas such as health, nutrition, education and child protection.

UN estimates that there are over 1 million Syrians inside Syria in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Of that number, it’s an estimated 300,000 internally displaced.

There are over 66,000 refugees in neighboring countries and there are existing refugees, Palestinian refugees, totaling about 500,000 inside Syria as well as a hundred thousand Iraqi refugees inside Syria.

In terms of funding, the United States has dedicated some $33 million to support the important work to assist and protect those in need in Syria and neighboring countries, and much more is on the way.

US pproach is to work through international and nongovernmental organizations.

The United States commends the brave and dedicated work that the humanitarian organizations on the ground in Syria and in the neighboring countries are carrying out, including the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and the World Food Program, and many international nongovernmental organizations.

The ngoing conflict in Syria has created a severe and growing humanitarian crisis, and the humanitarian organizations currently operating in Syria are tirelessly working to get aid out as quickly as possible into areas where safety and security are questionable.

Aid workers in Syria are putting their lives in jeopardy every day to get this relief to vulnerable children, women, and men caught in this crisis.

To help meet the growing needs, the United States is providing food, clean water, basic healthcare, medical and other emergency relief supplies to benefit more than 400,000 people in Syria and neighboring countries so far.

One of US largest emergency partners right now is the World Food Program, which has been helping to reach a hundred thousand people per month in some of the most conflict-affected cities and zones since this conflict began.

World Food Program, WFP, is being distributed in coordination with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. So far, they’ve reached 11 of the 14 provinces in Syria, Ms. Capozzola cited.

With support from the United States and other donors, WFP has expanded its emergency food assistance to reach now 250,000 conflict-affected Syrians.

US assistance is through international and non-governmental humanitarian partners which include:

  • $10.5 million to the World Food Program (WFP);
  • $8.5 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR);
  • $7.8 million to non-governmental organizations (NGOs);
  • $3 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); and
  • $3 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

    The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 10,000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.

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